Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Day 5 Maker spaces and libraries - Pinterest board #blog12daysxmas

Following on from my post regarding maker spaces in public libraries and the LinkedIn group about maker spaces in public libraries, I started thinking about the ways that libraries could also harness ideas on what to do/create/make if they created such a space for their users.

A search on the internet didn't give as many ideas as I wanted, especially considering I wanted any activities to eventually become self sustaining, not ones requiring constant staff intervention.  A Pinterest search gave me better results, but these were still fairly fragmented, so I created a Pinterest board specifically with ideas for maker spaces in libraries.  Many of the activities here relate to the STEAM principles (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics).

I'd be interested in your thoughts and welcome any contributions :)

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Day 4 Makers spaces and public libraries - LinkedIn Group #blog12daysxmas

The development of the maker space at my branch entailed a lot of research to elicit what would work, what may work and what I (potentially) should avoid acquiring for the space.  This research started around April 2013 and was quite hard to do; there wasn't a lot of information easily available and meant that most of what I did get was through personal contact with libraries overseas.

Since then, I have established a good network of libraries (mainly US based) which has been invaluable in terms of acquiring information on development and sustainability of maker spaces in public libraries.  Interestingly, since April 2013, more and more of these spaces have been created in public libraries - these have either been a totally new set up (like mine) or else a roll out to more branches following high success with the initial space.

During the course of this information gathering and discussions with others, I realised there was no forum I could find that offered a place to share and exchange ideas and information on maker spaces in public libraries.  I have now created a LinkedIn Group, Maker spaces in public libraries where articles and discussions can be posted to connect like minded people together.

If you're interested in maker spaces in public libraries, then be sure to join the group and contribute to some of the discussions, or feel free to start your own.  It can be as simple as 'how do I start a maker space in my library?"!

Friday, 27 December 2013

Day 3 Maker Spaces/Hacker Spaces - does one fit in my library? #blog12daysxmas

Today I met up with Michelle, from Connecting Librarian, who I am partnering with to present a workshop on maker spaces in libraries at VALA2014 (look at Wednesday 5 February 2014). Our idea is to provide an interactive workshop where participants leave with a plan on how they can implement a maker space in their library, no matter which sector, what they will need, funding commitments (if any), sustainability and promotion, amongst many other things.

 Both Michelle and I thought it would take us a while to plan the session, breaking it up into meaningful sub-sessions, but it all came together really well.  I'm very excited about what Michelle and I put together.  If you're interested in starting up a maker space in your library, then you really need to attend this workshop at VALA2014!

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Day 2 Gadgets #blog12daysxmas

I love technology and I really love gadgets, especially those that make things more efficient for me.  My husband knows this and has just bought me a Plox Powerbox (6000 series).  This is a portable battery pack that is able to charge a smart phone four times.  Because it has a 2.1 amp output, it charges extremely fast and I can charge more than one device at a time.  It has a micro USB charger, meaning I can use it to charge my Galaxy SIII, Kindle White and other devices that take the same connection. The micro USB charger is actually connected to the Plox Powerbox, so I don't have to have the charging cable with me.  Unsure yet if it has enough power to charge the iPad 4.  Mine is the bright yellow one :)

My next favourite gadget is the Laser 10 USB port charging station (mine is white).  This unit has an AC power cable and can switch between ten 1 amp outputs and five 2.4 amp outputs.  It sits on my desk and I have every thing I need charging when I need them to.

My latest gadget is the 2013 Kindle Paperwhite. I've always been a little ambivalent about owning a Kindle, mainly due to Amazon's proprietary hold, but I do like this eReader!  It's light, easy to hold and read from and quite smart looking. Now I just need to get some books that are compatible....

Day 1 A year in reflection #blog12daysxmas

2013 has been a big year professionally; in January the Mill Park Digital Hub started, being launched officially in May by the then Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy.  I continued to tutor in library studies for Charles Sturt University, Curtin University and Victoria University and even squeezed in a professional literature review.  I was named co-winner of the ALIA Victorian Favourite Librarian Award and took on a project role with ALIA, coordinating a return on investment project on special libraries.  The Health Libraries report, Worth Every Cent and More has just been released, with separate reports on Law, Government and Corporate sectors to follow. 

All of these were big learning curves for me, involving a lot of research and people/change management.  The biggest learning curve came with the development of the Mill Park Maker Space.  I applied for a small internal grant with very little lead up time and had to learn about maker spaces and their applicability to public libraries very quickly.  I was successful in obtaining the grant and the Mill Park Maker Space was officially launched in November, with over 200 official guests.

The biggest thing for me, for 2013 however, would have to be handing in my resignation at Yarra Plenty Regional Library, where I have spent an awesome 5 1/2 years immersed in innovation and creativity.

Monday, 9 December 2013

The maker movement

Whenever I speak to someone in the public library sector about including maker spaces in our services, I inevitably receive one of two responses.  The first is: "That's a great idea.  Why doesn't it surprise me?" The second is the much shorter: "Why?"  My first, short answer to that is "Why not?" :)

The longer answer?  Public libraries, to me, have always been about providing equitable access to information.  Traditionally this was through books (and one could argue that traditionally, books were all that were available) but now there are so many more mediums and platforms to provide this access.  Videos, DVDs, CDs, databases... we provide access to literacy programs, to computers, the internet...the list goes on.  We're providing access to things that some people may not have ready access to.  I put maker spaces in the same category.  They're a way to provide access to resources that have the potential to make significant changes in society.

I first read about the Fab Lab last year during a management workshop we had at work that was meant to challenge us to think outside the square.  There was an immediate connection for me. Libraries are places for people to connect, learn and get access!  Access to things I mentioned earlier, but also access to people.  In a maker space it's not necessarily the staff who are doing the 'showing' and the 'teaching'.  Members of the community who have this specialist knowledge can come in and share what they know.

This afternoon, a gentleman approached me about volunteering to help in our new maker space.  He has a degree in physics and a diploma of teaching.  He wants to share what he knows.  This is just one fabulous aspect of maker spaces....